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UK welcomes Syrian refugees: 24 of them

by
20 June 2014

by a staff reporter

global care

Time out: Syrian children play in a refugee camp instead of going to school

Time out: Syrian children play in a refugee camp instead of going to school

AS THE refugee crisis in Syria worsens, the UK Government has revealed that it has allowed only 24 Syrian asylum-seekers to enter Britain.

In answer to a written question from the MP Keith Vaz, the Home Office Minister James Brokenshire said that 24 Syrians had arrived under a relocation scheme: the first group in March, and the second in April.

He said that he envisaged that "several hundred" would be allowed into the UK over the next three years. In contrast, Germany has pledged to take in 20,000 refugees by the end of this year.

The Refugee Council said that it was "disappointing . . . that the UK has so far yet to offer enough resettlement places to fill a bus, when we should be offering entire planeloads of seats to safety".

The Government was forced into a U-turn on the issue at the beginning of the year, saying that it would, after all, accept some Syrian refugees, although it is still refusing to take part in the UNHCR's sanctuary scheme, which sends refugees on a quota system. The UK, however, has been one of the most generous aid donors to Syria.

The Syrian refugee crisis is the biggest in the world, the UN Refugee Agency reports. About 2.8 million Syrians are registered as refugees. Lebanon has borne the brunt of the exodus - it has 1.1 million refugees, meaning that a quarter of the country's population is now Syrian. A further 783,000 refugees have fled to Turkey, and 600,000 to Jordan.

The Christian children's charity Global Care is working in refugee camps in Lebanon, and is supporting a school, to enable children - some of whom have lost yearsof schooling - to return to the classroom. "If they don't start receiving some kind of education soon, a whole generation of Syrian children will be disadvantaged for life," the charity's CEO, John White, said.

Many of the children who have fled are being forced to go out to work. In Lebanon, children have found employment working in the fields - they are cheaper to employ than their parents.

The charity Tearfund has given cards, handmade by British children, to Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. The cards have messages saying: "We are praying for you."

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